Visualizing Seismic Data

Michael Dennis miked at
Wed Dec 22 12:13:54 EST 1999

John Washbourne wrote:

> Ive been using VTK for geophysical visualization on an 2x400 Mhz. ultra60 with 2
> Gb ram. For me, memory is not really the issue for the type of visualization you
> are describing but it comes down to sheer muscle in the graphics pipe. I assume
> that you are hoping for interactive rendering? If so, software of any kind may
> not solve your problem unless you have _ALOT_ of CPU/graphics horsepower (like
> for example one of those many CPU SGI's).

Unfortunately that is not the kind of configuration that we are typically looking
at.  We also have clients interpreting 3D seismic sections of the order of 6 GB in
size on PC's which would even run your 2Gb system out of memory.

> Give some more info: time or depth data? Do you really want volume visualization?
> Can you just extract horizons and view them as surfaces in 3D?
> Maybe taking ortho-slices might be more reasonable?

Post stack time data.  I've already experimented with horizon and fault surfaces and
that seems quite feasible in VTK but the seismic end seems to be the problem.  I
would like to be interactively able to set cut planes and view the seismic in any
form I want and in any direction (For example a stair diagram).  To do this it seems
to me that I have to load the entire 3D into memory (correct me if I'm wrong).
Maybe my expectations are unrealistic but I would like to be able to page the data
and cache the data and see how the performance is doing that.  That would remove the
huge memory requirements for working with seismic.

> Although I know it can be done, I am not sure how to wire VTK for interactive
> slicing so I use VIS5D ( designed for
> weather analysis), which is a bit of a hassle learning the input format but once
> you are up seems to work well for 3D time or depth seismic data. I wrote some
> segy->vis5d code in c++ that may be helpful.

Thanks for the lead, does the VIS5D try to load the entire data file in order to
visualize it or does it page it?

KERNEL Technologies Ltd.
Michael Dennis

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